Here are the top 15 soccer stories we’re following today:
1. A US NATIONAL TEAM WITHOUT DONOVAN?
Could the US national team really depart for Brazil without Landon Donovan in its 23-man squad? According to the LA Galaxy star himself, it’s a distinct possibility: “It’s as competitive as it’s been for me personally in a long time.” While Donovan fights to play in his fourth World Cup, Kyle Beckerman stands on the verge of fulfilling a childhood dream. Meanwhile, Timmy Chandler's remarkable return to the fold was apparently inspired by encouragement from national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann.
2. WORLD CUP OPPONENTS TAKE SHAPE
As teams start to announce their final 23-man World Cup squads, we now know exactly whom Group G opponents Portugal will be bringing to the tournament. There was also news out of Germany, as both Philip Lahm and Manuel Neuer appeared to be injured during the German Cup final on Saturday. No worries, though, as Bayern Munich revealed on Monday that it will not prevent both players being ready for the tournament this summer.
3. THE RETURN OF CAMILO? HE’S ON A LIST
How the tables have turned. While it was just over four months ago that the Vancouver Whitecaps transferred 2013 Golden Boot winner Camilo Sanvezzo to Mexican side Querétaro following a drawn out transfer saga, reports continue to circulate suggesting the Brazilian striker could be on his way back after a tough spell with the Liga MX club. Camilo’s agent insists his player won’t be returning to the Whitecaps, but head coach Carl Robinson suggested that the Brazilian is on a list of players the Canadian side are taking a closer look at.
4. JACK MAC STEPS UP
With this season likely to be Marco Di Vaio’s last, many had wondered how the Montreal Impact would fare without their Designated Player, who came within two goals of winning the Golden Boot in 2013. That question appears to have been answered with the acquisition of Jack McInerney as, with Di Vaio currently out injured, McInerney has scored four goals in his last four games and believes there are plenty more still to come.
5. NOGUEIRA’S CHANGING STATUS
While the Philadelphia Union may have suffered a heavy defeat at the weekend, Vincent Nogueira showed exactly what he could do as he blasted an unstoppable shot past New England’s Brad Knighton. It was a brilliant moment, one that occurred across the ocean from where another moment may have had an impact on his cost to Philly.
6. CHANGING CHIVAS
At some point, MLS will find and announce new owners for Chivas USA and, hopefully, usher in a bright new era for the soon-to-be renamed LA club. What about the here and now, though? Wilmer Cabrera is the head coach with the task of guiding the Goats through the transition, and although it hasn't all been roses so far, they appear to be moving in the right direction.
Believe it or not, we’re 11 games into the season and Real Salt Lake are still unbeaten. There’s still a long way to go before they catch the Columbus Crew and FC Dallas’ all-time record of 19 games, or even their own previous best of 18, but it’s still an impressive accomplishment. Could part of the reason for it be RSL’s ability to score first in the majority of their games? Hear what head coach Jeff Cassar has to say about it here.
8. TORRES SIDELINED
The Colorado Rapids could point to a lack of finishing as the reason they were unable to take a least a point from their game against Real Salt Lake on Saturday. That may be an ongoing issue as Gabriel Torres is set to miss the next three three games to work on muscle strengthening after a scan revealed “significant muscle damage as a result of his efforts over the first few months of the season.” At the same time, the striker has also been named to Panama’s national team squad for its upcoming friendlies, so whether he goes or not remains to be seen.
9. D.C. STADIUM ONE STEP CLOSER
Have D.C United moved one step closer to having their very own soccer-specific stadium? According to The Washington Post, an agreement has nearly been reached, almost 10 months after plans were initially announced. Meanwhile, in other United news, it seems like the club’s managing partner Jason Levien will have more time to dedicate to the team as he resigned as CEO of the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies.
10. BECKHAM MOVES ON
It appears that David Beckham and his group of investors have turned their stadium focus to a boat slip recommended by Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez. The original plans to build in PortMiami were met with resistance and in a statement released by Beckham’s group, they outlined their hope to move forward with the new location. Speaking of new stadiums, the Atlanta Falcons held a ceremony on Monday as they broke ground on their new facility. Much like the new San Francisco 49ers stadium in Santa Clara, it appears an MLS game will officially open the venue.
MLS Commissioner Don Garber says Arthur Blank has told him the first event in the new stadium will be an MLS game. #RiseUp— Atlanta_Falcons (@Atlanta_Falcons) May 20, 2014
11. THE SILICON VALLEY REVOLUTION
As you might expect from a team based in Silicon Valley, the San Jose Earthquakes are leading the way in what they hope will be a digital stadium revolution. From Saturday onward, fans will be able to pay for in-stadium items using the digital currency bitcoin. Buck Shaw Stadium is the first professional sports venue to allow such transactions.
12. HENRY REMEMBERS
While Thierry Henry has spent the first part of this MLS season helping Bradley Wright-Phillips become the league’s leading scorer, the Red Bulls star and former World Cup winner will turn his attention to another line of work when MLS breaks for the World Cup. That would be TV punditry, and ahead of that gig the Frenchman has been reflecting on what it meant to lift the trophy on home soil.
13. MAN OF STEELE
Jonny Steele is the latest MLS player to be called up for international duty, and the New York Red Bulls star will now feature in Northern Ireland's South American tour against World Cup qualifiers Chile and Uruguay. The good news for Red Bulls fans is that their team has no games between May 27 and June 8, so Steele won't add to the Red Bulls' list of international absentees. RBNY may be hoping to produce even more international quality players of their own in the future with the news that they’ll be forming a U-12 Academy team next season.
14. EVEN MORE BRITS ON TOUR
English Premier League side Crystal Palace are the latest side to plan a preseason visit to the United States. They’ll play games against the Philadelphia Union, Columbus Crew and the Richmond Kickers, D.C. United's USL PRO affiliates. For those keeping track, that’s now nine teams from last season’s EPL who’ll be touring the states this summer.
15. DOWN WITH THE DENIM
If you remember the 1994 World Cup, then chances are you remember the USMNT’s denim kit, either fondly or otherwise. But have you ever wondered how and why the team came to wear the unique outfit?
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